Life is a precious thing, and three-legged lurcher Bromley knows that better than most dogs – having narrowly cheated death not once, but twice.
He arrived at Blue Cross in December 2016 with a fractured pelvis after being hit by a car and needed an emergency leg amputation to stem internal bleeding and save his life.
Bromley, then called Spot, seemed to be making a good recovery initially but within a matter of days he had fallen on death’s door for a second time.
After suffering another haemorrhage, he needed an urgent blood transfusion to survive.
It was touch and go for a while, but with round-the-clock care from the veterinary team at our Victoria animal hospital in central London, Bromley pulled through.
Senior Vet, Seb Prior, said: “It truly was an epic Blue Cross team effort to save him. I've never seen a pelvic bleed like that before. When it happens, the animal usually bleeds to death and never gets as far as a hospital.
"We see a lot of dogs and cats with really severe pelvic fractures and I still can't remember any case like this before.”
But now, Bromley’s sad and traumatic past is well and truly behind him.
Once the now two-year-old was strong enough, he travelled to our Suffolk rehoming centre to continue his recovery and find a home.
And he wasn’t waiting long as Denise Laughlin had already heard about his story through social media, and was sure they were the perfect match.
“I wanted a rescue dog that had been through a tough time, who I could give a nice life to,” she said.
“I lost my previous dog a year before and finally felt ready to get another.
“I had always wanted a lurcher type; I’ve worked with dogs all of my life so I know the breeds well. It was just a case of waiting until the right one came up,” said Denise, an animal care lecturer at a local college.
Bromley now leads the happiest of lives with her in a picturesque Wiltshire village and they have become inseparable.
“Bromley is my sidekick,” said Denise, cuddled up to the lovable lurcher on the sofa of her local dog-friendly café, exactly a year to the day since she took him home with her.
“He’s hilarious; he’s one of the funniest dogs I’ve ever met. He makes me laugh every day.”
“And he’s got the most positive character; despite everything he has been through he’s so happy, and so grateful for everything. He’s got such expression in his face. We’re very happy,” she added.
Understandably, after everything he had been through, it took a while for it to sink in for Bromley that he had found a forever home. But now there’s no looking back.
Denise recalled: “When he first came home he was quite unsure because there had been lots of moving around during the time that he was poorly. For the first few weeks he was really anxious whenever you left the room.
“But then he was, like, ‘Oh wait, you’re my person now. I can lie on this couch or in front of this fire and I don’t need to worry about anything’. Once he realised that this was his new life and that we were a team he became super chilled out. He’s just so easy going.”
Bromley often joins Denise work, where he is a big hit with the students she teaches, and spends the weekends out exploring the surrounding countryside. Denise even takes Bromley on tours of the UK and Europe in her campervan, which he loves.
They have already visited Denise’s native Scotland, as well as France, Italy and Belgium in the past year, and they have many more trips planned for 2018.
Denise said: “Most of the time he comes pretty much everywhere with me. We’ve done loads together, and have been on so many adventures. We often just go off for the weekend in the campervan and explore, walk, visit country pubs and do lots of fun stuff.
“He loves the campervan, he enjoys just sitting there and starring out of the window, looking at everybody and where we are going.”
And for Denise, Bromley is her motivation to get out and see as much of the world as possible.
“I wouldn’t be going to and travelling to as many places as I am if I didn’t have Bromley,” she said. “In the time that I didn’t have a dog I just felt lost or a bit silly going out on long walks on my own, or with friends that had dogs.
“In my social circle, we’ve all got dogs and campervans and go out on big dog walks and go exploring places. We all take our dogs everywhere.”
Some of Bromley’s travel highlights include people watching in Bruges and exploring ancient mountain villages in the Italian Alps, but so far nothing has topped running along the vast beach beside Denise’s mum’s home in Scotland with his ears flapping in the wind.
“My mum lives on the beach with a big bay window looking down to the sea and he just gets up in the morning and stands there watching all the dogs running up and down, waiting for his turn.”
Meanwhile, his favourite game in his local park is dropping his tennis ball in the river and running up and down the bank, barking as it floats away.
“We go through at least a few balls a week. We always need to have a spare with us,” laughed Denise.
For a dog with only three legs, Bromley runs like the wind – and on his walks leaves onlookers in awe of his lightning speed.
“He was very anticipatory at first as he was worried about getting hurt again, but once he got his confidence back there was no stopping him.
“He loves to run, and run and run. He gets so much attention when he’s out as people see that he’s only got three legs. And he just loves all the attention. He even has his own Instagram account now and people I don’t know are even following him.”
It’s clear that Bromley, despite his horrid past, has an inspiring and unwavering zest for life.
And for the team that saved his life, there’s no greater reward than to hear about how happy he is.
Amanda Marrington, London Welfare Officer based at Victoria, said: “Bromley was such a fighter and was helped by pretty much every department in the hospital – it was team work at its best.
“He received lots of love and care from the whole team who all fell in love with him, he was such a soppy boy. There were tears all round when he left the hospital as everyone had grown so attached, but we were so happy to see him go off to start a new life after surviving against all the odds.”